INQ releases Twitter phones, eyes U.S. market

INQ Mobile released two new social networking-focused phones, which the company hopes will allow customers to experience the mobile Internet on low-cost devices. 

The INQ Chat 3G has a Qwerty keyboard and is similar in style to many BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion. It has a 2.4-inch display, 3.2-megapixel camera and built-in GPS. The INQ Mini is a 3G, candybar-style phone and has a 2-megapixel camera. Both have built-in plug-and-play HSDPA modems and both have one-click access to Twitter, Facebook, Skype and instant messaging services.

The phones will also allow users to sync music from a desktop iTunes library via software from a company called doubleTwist. INQ said that its iTunes sync is different than the kind Palm has enabled for the Pre.

INQ, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, said the new phones will go on sale through 3, Hutchison's wireless service, later this year. The phones initially will be sold in Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Mini will go on sale in September and is expected to cost less than $150 before carrier subsidies, and the Chat will go on sale in October and will cost $200 before subsidies.

INQ said it expects other operators to sell the devices as well, though it did not provide details. The company said the phones will hit the U.S. market in 2010, but did not announce a partnership with a U.S. carrier.

INQ burst into the spotlight earlier this year by winning the best mobile handset award in February at the GSMA Awards at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for its INQ1 handset.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this release

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